Media Hype & School Violence: "A Little More Restraint Wouldn't Hurt"

Looking to Tuesday's school safety summit (which is now -- talk about overkill -- apparently going to include not only the President but also the First Lady and Attorney Genera), this weekend's NPR show On The Media included a segment on how the media may be overblowing the recent spate of school violence and even contributing to copycat crimes.


"The assault this week in Pennsylvania’s Amish country was the sixth deadly school shooting in as many weeks. Media commentators are pointing to the possibility of a copycat effect, but few are examining the media’s own complicity therein, according to the segment, titled Picturing the Worst (audio). "School violence researcher Loren Coleman tells Bob that a little more restraint on the part of the media wouldn’t hurt."

Meanwhile, the PEN NewsBlast points to school safety stats that show what's really going on: "The tragedy of recent school shootings has the potential to leave the impression that schools are more unsafe than ever before. No so, reports a joint effort by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and National Center for Education Statistics." (School crime & violence statistics)

Of course, no one's listening, and so media and lawmakers continue to make hay on the school violence story:

Legislator Suggests Arming Teachers Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In the aftermath of recent school shootings, a state representative has proposed giving principals and teachers the right to arm themselves with handguns.

Does Every School Need a Metal Detector? MSNBC
Metal detectors, threat-evaluation software, police officers -- hundreds of American schools have added tighter security since 1999’s attack at Colorado’s Columbine High School.

And of course, school safety was the topic of the President's weekly radio address on Saturday.


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